Supporting the Care sector during the Coronavirus
Coronavirus is having an impact on all our lives and every one of us can play an important role in looking after each other.
Whether that be staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus, volunteering to support those who could do with some help right now or by taking care of others like our incredibly selfless NHS and care workers.
I know that each of us has concerns about the impact of the virus; concerns about our own health or the health of our family and loved ones. I myself have a grandfather who is in his 90’s and under normal circumstances, is resilient and in good health. But these are not normal circumstances and I find myself wondering what more I can do to keep him safe and well while observing the national guidance about social distancing.
However, there are some loved ones within our communities who need additional support and are receiving care and I would like to share with you how the county council is working with care providers to ensure that our most vulnerable have the support they need.
In light of the pandemic, customers are likely to begin to see some changes to the care they receive, and I know that may be daunting and worrying for some, so I’d like to say thank you to everyone we are supporting for their resilience and understanding during these difficult times.
It may be that people are not be able to go out shopping or that their care provider changes, but we will be doing what is necessary to keep them healthy, safe and well.
The council is working across the health and social care system to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in Suffolk and will continue to keep customers updated of any changes as they arise. Customers will receive a phone call or a visit from their current care provider or Suffolk County Council’s Home First team when their services are affected, and it will be fully explained to them.
I would like to reassure people that those who are self-isolating and have care needs will still receive the necessary levels of care. Keeping people safe and healthy is a priority shared right across the care sector.
If the individual receiving care and support has symptoms of Coronavirus, then the risk of transmission will be minimised through safe working procedures.
The county council is also doing all it can to support our care providers. The demand for their services has never been higher and we are doing a number of things to help them meet this challenge.
We are offering a guaranteed income for care providers for the next three months, based upon an average of their payments over the last three months, rather than paying per package of care. This will benefit providers as they may see a reduction in what they would normally be able to provide due to staff shortages.
We will be commissioning homecare and support contracts to accredited providers outside of our usual list of providers for a period of three months. This will provide extra capacity for care needs to be met.
We are increasing our capacity in Home First through the deployment of other staff across the council and we will extend this to include the wider public sector workforce if required. Basic training is already underway to upskill or refresh the skills of staff in order to be ready for redeployment.
As I have already said, these are unprecedented and difficult times and our care providers are reacting to an ever-changing situation with confidence and unwavering compassion and I’d like to thank them all for their incredible commitment and dedication.
Please do all you can to support them by doing what needs to be done: Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.
If you are at home and in need of some help to get the essentials, please call our Home But Not Alone freephone number and we will make sure you get what you need: 0800 8766926.
Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, Cabinet Member for Adult Care.